Supernatural 5.21 "Two Minutes to Midnight"
The Winchesters track down the location of Pestilence to gather the third ring, but are caught and are infected by his powers until Castiel, who had previously contacted Dean to tell him of his whereabouts and his current condition, comes to their aide in getting Pestilence's ring. With only one more to go, the boys learn about Bobby's deal with Crowley on finding the location of Death along with the transportation of the Croatoan virus. Sam, Bobby and Castiel deal with the virus while Dean goes with Crowley to find Death and get his ring. When confronting Death, Dean is taken aback at the proposition Death offers him -- giving the ring to him, in exchange for the promise that they must stop Lucifer no matter what it takes. Leading us to what Sam had been planning; jumping into the pit and defeating Lucifer himself. With now all four rings, and the instructions on how to use them, all they need to do is find the Devil himself and seal this deal once and for all.
This episode was interesting, although seemed rushed and really brought up something that should have been dealt with prior to these last remaining episodes of the season. How will the show wrap everything up concerning the Apocalyptic arc? The involvement of the angels, demons, the Heaven versus Hell conflict, and moreover the issue about Dean's destiny versus Sam's destiny, will those be resolved within an hour span? What about Castiel, is he going to become human now, and if so what does this mean for his character?
The Great Debate: Angel!Castiel versus Human!Castiel
I have to say, my initial reaction to the reveal of the condition Castiel is currently in was a pretty knee-jerk one, since I've been having kind of pessimistic and worrisome thoughts about how the show is going to handle and deal with everything with one episode left, especially with Castiel's journey this season. However, thankfully, after calming down and being reassured by alexwhitman25 (ty bb!) and a few others and reading on other people's opinions and thoughts countering my own, I've relaxed on the thought about Castiel not having all of his angel mojo that he appeared with at the beginning of the season. My fear was having Castiel turn into what future!Cas was "The End" because over the course of the season we've seen subtle hints to him heading in that direction, lost his faith in God, he starting binge drinking, he even lost his faith in Dean for a moment. However, we know that the Apocalyptic arc will be ending this season, everything will be dealt with, and that in this episode we're shown that Castiel has regained his faith in Dean and still believes in their mission, believes in the brothers and what they can accomplish. Something that future!Castiel didn't have. So even with certain things being similar, scarily similar to the pathway that lead to his future!self which prompted my fears in the first place, it's safe to say that Castiel won't turn into that version we saw in the 2014 future, which definitely reassured me somewhat.
But it does bring us right back to square one on where this leaves Castiel in terms of the show and how his character arc is going to be handled, if done correctly that is.
Some think that by making him human, or something close to resembling human by angel standards, this ensures us that Castiel might be back next season. Although I find that odd that although the apocalypse/angel storyline will be done after this season that means that Castiel can't be what he has been already since the season began, which is still an angel but with limited abilities due to being cut off from Heaven. I've always thought that, even if Castiel cannot go back home or might not want to, that shouldn't mean he still can't remain something of an angel. Which I still think he will be, because no matter what he still is an angel just without the abilities angels are accustomed to, hence why I would prefer him staying the way he was after he returned; him still being cut off but maintaining his strength/powers/zapping abilities or what-have-you. I don't know, I think in my head I kinda figured that Castiel, with his dedication to the greater cause especially to the Winchesters that in the end of everything, would be granted him some kind of reward for all his troubles and sacrifices (because why else would God resurrect him for anyway if not believing he had some greater purpose to serve?) I mean come on, he's been the only angel, next to Gabriel that is, that has had any sort of faith and hope and optimism and not trying to destroy the world and humanity, one of the things I have admired and adored about his character for these last two seasons. You'd think that would give some hope in giving him something of leverage for his good deeds, right? If not well, that's greatly unfair and I don't want God to be unjustly or a deadbeat father type, since there's too much of that on this show already there needs to be that silver lining of father-figures, especially where God is concerned because there are those who are religious or deeply spiritual that don't like seeing that underneath it all, with all these trials and tribulations, that God is just gonna not do something towards the end after everything is set and down, particularly to those who have proven their faith and courageousness like Castiel has done time and again.
However, this brings me to my next point about the pros on having Castiel going in that direction. I think that, if treated respectfully and true to his character, it can be an interesting development for him. I can accept Castiel having less powers and understanding how to go amongst humanity and learning out ways of living if it's his own choice and decision after all of this. By this episode it seems like he completely drained himself from using the banishment sigil -- once again, a sacrifice he made for Dean -- which it's unclear whether he's gradually recharging his strength from it or that him remaining unconscious between then and now was that recovery time and he's just drained permanently from the counteraction of the sigil itself.
Anyway, the point I'm making is that by the end of everything, if Castiel is to choose to go back to Heaven and become a full-powered angel again or stay on Earth still as an angel just with limited to nothing of powers, I definitely think that Castiel would choose to remain on Earth with the Winchesters. Because after everything I think he would feel pretty ostracized by his family because he relentlessly killed many of them by the numbers when he turned rogue against them so, yeah. It would be an awkward family reunion, that's for sure. It's kind of sad when you think about it, Heaven has been his home since the beginning of time, but I think after realizing the right and wrong of the situation laid before him he chooses humanity over Heaven, which he kinda already set after rebelling against them so, you know. Kind of following through with that. So that way, with that setup, he can be part of Team Free Will and know it was for the best because that's where he truly belongs. With those who don't give up, who despite their flaws continue on, which is essentially the definition of humanity as a whole and what Castiel has been believing/fighting for since the beginning really, so it would make sense.
I mean, just picturing Castiel trying to do everyday mundane human things like riding in the Impala without, eating breakfast, figuring out the mechanics of hunting alongside the boys with shotguns and all of that, figuring out how to operate things like modern technology and such, having to go places without appearing and disappearing at random and being mildly frustrated with it, moreover having to interact with other human beings....that's kind of endearing to imagine, honestly. And from this episode although he was kind of mourning what he used to be before, with his abilities and powers and such, those advantages that angels were always accustomed to having at their convenience, he's been adjusting rather well to having being "grounded" so to speak. Granted, he's gone through that before after being resurrected and understanding he's been cut off from Heaven, but to having lost whatever was left of his former self must be kind of devastating to him. So it's understandable that he would feel useless without those advantages, but that doesn't weaken or lessen his amount of fighting skills. Oh no, he's definitely useful since he kicked ass despite those losses in this episode.
And if there's anything we've learned about Castiel this season, the lesser abilities he has the more he has to deal with such as improvising and being resourceful. He's a bigger BAMF when he's fighting hard and dirty and in it for the survival instead of relying on such powers, and we like that side of him, don't we? ♥
With concluding this long-winded meta on the subject, I still have to say I'm torn between this. On one hand I still want Castiel to remain how he was when the season premiered, still cut off but having some of his powers therefore validating that he's still an angel. However, I definitely see the potential and opportunity of having a human!Castiel returning for next season (and even if it would only be a phase for his character development and such), as such a concept has been contemplated about amongst fandom for some time now. But it's a matter of how the show and the writers are going to handle it -- and I have to be brutally honest here you guys, I have kind of wary about their writing abilities since they kind of let me down somewhat with Castiel's journey this season and what we got and what we didn't. I don't want them fucking up his character. Just saying, because it's on everyone's minds right now.
The Winchester Saga: All About Sammy?
Okay, so another debate or constant argument around fandom is whether or not they're focusing primarily on Sam's destiny rather than Dean's destiny instead of incorporating both their destinies which have been intertwined since the fourth season. And with this episode saying that Michael is now using Adam as his vessel instead of Dean, I'm kind of am worried how they're going to handle both of their character storylines to be wrapped this season along with everything else.
Because honestly? We've already known it's been about Sam. "It always had to be you," that's the line that keeps being repeated to him throughout the show, and we've known about Sam and his anger issues and all the things that have been kind have made redundant at this point, and while I understand this is part of his redemption and making amends and proving himself from the mistakes he's made there's still Dean to consider with this apocalypse, too. Because he's had a huge vital role to play since the fourth season, he underwent through a major emotional arc and development from there and it's been made abundantly clear about Dean's destiny. What about what happened with the Whore of Babylon, or the killing of Zachariah when he looked directly at Zachariah's burning grace? It couldn't have all just been for nothing, esp with the whole "oh Michael is using Adam now" spiel. I'm sure they're aware of this, but it seems like they're trying to make it all about Sam again which shouldn't be the case. Sam didn't start the apocalypse, they both did, it should be about the Winchesters defeating this thing together and not just one brother having to save the other from their own destiny. Team Free Will, right? Lucifer wants Sam, Michael wants Dean, that's their supposed destiny and they have to find a way together to fight it. Because that's the strength they'll need to defeat Lucifer in the end, not just the strength and love of humanity itself but the strength in brotherhood and family, and you can't do that with just one Winchester. That is my firm belief anyway.
I think my main gripe is generally with how they've handled this season overall, particularly with the apocalypse and how they didn't seem to take things as seriously, or with such consistency, as I would have expected them to. In these last several episodes there have been revealed information that could have been drawn out more earlier. Had they introduced and dealt with these things earlier in the season, you know balanced out the boys and their destiny and issues, I wouldn't have minded. But it doesn't feel that way to me.
I do know that somehow it will involve both the boys in the end, but that doesn't stop everything from feeling a bit rushed with solving this entire arc all next Thursday. It seems too sudden, too soon with not enough explanations in between.
Memorable Moments of the Episode:
++ I will say, in addition to all I mentioned above, I find the supporting characters much more interesting than our main characters these days. I still love them but, quite frankly, the constant redundancy of repeating their unresolved issues with each other has been going on for some while now that it gets rather boring, which is why I love the sidelines with Crowley and Castiel and Bobby and Gabriel and Zachariah and all the rest of them because they have something more rich, more textured that we haven't had a chance to really fully explore. Which is why I say, spin-off. Fuck S6, let's have like a prequel with the angels and Crowley or something.
++ One of the issues I had though with this episode was the editing, the beginning scene with Pestilence was supposed to be a follow-up scene to something we'd be seeing later in the episode, however they timed it wrong. Usually those scenes are something big that happens midway through but instead it happens like minutes after the title card opens. I don't know, that kind of bugged me because I sat there thinking "....didn't we just see this scene play out in the beginning?" Yeah. I would have preferred seeing Dean sitting down talking with Death than that, but you know. Whatever.
++ CASTIEL IN A HOSPITAL GOWN WAS TOO CUTE. <3 I admit doing a double-take seeing Castiel in a hospital bed. In a hospital gown. It's just so strange seeing Castiel outside of his normal suit/trench coat attire because that is his signature, that's how he is.
++ CASTIEL APOLOGIZING TO DEAN, D'AWWWW. BOYFRIENDS MAKING UP. <333 Even though apologies go both ways, I love how Dean didn't think Castiel needed to apologize for anything -- and I think Dean's still a bit surprised that Castiel would apologize to him like that after everything, like he's still not used to being told that someone else was sorry for something that wasn't his brother saying it. So I found that entire scene very endearing and touching and just, omg OTP 4EVAH! *hugs them*
++ So happy we got more of Matt Frewer as Pestilence. I thought we were gonna be cheated out of seeing him, and I'd wished there could have been more, like an entire episode dedicated to him like we saw with War and with Famine, but whatever. Matt Frewer was awesome.
++ The hospital Pestilence is at is called: Serenity Valley. I SEE WHUT YOU DID THAR, SHOW! LOL
++ CASTIEL SAVES THE DAY! WHOO-HOO! Whumped, and kinda human, but still a BAMF. \o/
I love how deadpan and dry Castiel says the line, and then Dean raises his head agreeing with his angel boyfriend that Bobby's definition of "good news" wasn't all that great. lol I also find it sad, but slightly endearing, how both Dean and Castiel have the same kind of body language in that scene. Tired, worn out, beat, etc. I THINK I JUST MISSED THEM TOGETHER AFTER LIKE A TWO EPISODES WITHOUT EACH OTHER SO ANYTHING WITH THEM IS FINE BY ME, OKAY?
++ CROWLEY IS STILL A SNARKY BITCH, LOL! SO HAPPY HE DIDN'T DIE. *crossing fingers, knocking on wood* I just wished we could have gotten some Castiel/Crowley interaction because I betcha the snark would have been marvelous, other than the "hello, King of the Crossroads" which, FUCK YEAH HE IS. :D Mark Sheppard, never leave my fandoms ever. You are just one fantastic man playing a snarkalicious character. A snarky GAY DEMON at that. I kinda ship Crowley/Bobby, ngl. He totally was sold when Bobby slipped him the tongue with that sealing-the-deal kiss. Which is why he healed his legs, and Bobby looked so amazed and genuinely happy about that. Awwww. <333 And of course, Crowley and Dean. I love those two and their frenemy relationship.
CROWLEY, I FUCKING LOVE YOU NEVER LEAVE ME, YOU FABULOUSLY SNARKY DEMON BITCH. ♥ ♥
++ I'm wondering why Castiel couldn't have talked to Dean about his insecure problems about having been drained of his abilities, at least he would have been more sympathetic or understood (and we would have probably had more chance at a hug or something, idk). But I guess Bobby offers the tough love, even though I kind of get the feeling that Bobby doesn't favor Castiel all that much. Which makes me sad, but that's kind of hilarious considering how Misha and Jim are like BFFS in real life, lol!
++ Death is fucking terrifying and intimidating, but I find it interesting how not only the angels but everyone else is against Lucifer taking reign over Earth (sans the demons that worship him, that is). I should really do more meta about that, the concept about family and children with "temper tantrums" and how even otherworldly beings like angels can have those too. But those tantrums create an entire massacre of an entire planet and of an entire human race (i.e. Cylons much?)
++ The fact that "O Death" played during Death's intro was just so fucking badass. I think that song is the shit, for reals. It should be the anthem for both S4 and S5 (at least the relevant episodes)
++ ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALLLLLLLL!!!!
I admit, this scene was very cool. I didn't expect the rings to do that when they were together, but I'm wondering how those rings are going to open the portal to Lucifer's prison in the pit.
++ "Are you scared about losing, or about losing your brother?" The story of the Winchesters since 2005, ladies and gentlemen.
Overall: I'm still mixed on how I feel about this episode, being the second to last of the season with still nothing to really go on. I feel like last season was much better with balancing out the drama with the brothers and their separate storylines going on. It really had a better pacing of how they went about things then how they've been handling the Apocalypse. There really hasn't been any built-up momentum to anything suspenseful, it's just a matter of wondering how the fuck they are going to wrap all this up in one freaking hour since there is shitloads they have yet to even address once bringing it up this season. There's Sam and his anger, but also Dean and his destiny too; there's the angels including Raphael and all these different elements being thrown at us left and right, and what about Michael? What about God? Had they dealt with this season better, like treating it as if it really was their last instead of just rushing through things this quickly, I would feel much better but since they didn't I don't know what to feel. I just know that I'm mainly concerned over Castiel right now. Castiel and Bobby and Crowley; again, the supporting characters are more interesting than the Winchesters because we know how the outcome for them is going to be. But supporting characters? Not so much, and it makes me worry because you know something is going to happen to one, if not all of them. D: D: D: D:
I AM JUST PRAYING THAT MY BB CAS IS OKAY OR ELSE I WILL CUT THE SHOW INTO TINY PIECES AND FEED THEM TO THE WOLVES!
Who's gonna be holding a prayer circle next Thursday? I know I will. *bites nails*